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Publication numberUS6491810 B1
Publication typeGrant
Application numberUS 09/704,085
Publication dateDec 10, 2002
Filing dateNov 1, 2000
Priority dateNov 1, 2000
Fee statusLapsed
Also published asUS6585884, WO2002057393A1, WO2002057393A8
Publication number09704085, 704085, US 6491810 B1, US 6491810B1, US-B1-6491810, US6491810 B1, US6491810B1
InventorsWarden W. Mayes, Jr.
Original AssigneeWarden W. Mayes, Jr.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method of producing synthesis gas from a regeneration of spent cracking catalyst
US 6491810 B1
Abstract
The present invention provides a method of producing a synthesis gas from a regeneration of spent cracking catalyst. The method includes introducing a spent cracking catalyst into a first regeneration zone in a presence of a first oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere and at a first regeneration temperature. For example, a temperature that does not exceed about 1400░ F., and more preferable a temperature that ranges from about 1150░ F. to about 1400░ F., may be used as the first regeneration temperature. The method further includes introducing the spent cracking catalyst from the first regeneration zone into a second regeneration zone in a presence of a second oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere, and producing a synthesis gas from cracking deposits located on the spent cracking catalyst within the second regeneration zone at a second regeneration temperature substantially greater than said first regeneration temperature. In a preferred embodiment, the second regeneration temperature ranges from about 1500░ F. to about 1800░, and in a related embodiment is about 1800░ F.
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Claims(22)
What is claimed is:
1. A method of producing a synthesis gas product from a regeneration of spent cracking catalyst, comprising:
introducing a spent cracking catalyst into a first regeneration zone in a presence of a first oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere, wherein said first regeneration zone is operated at a temperature ranging from about 1150░ F. to about 1400░ F. so as to reduce cracking catalyst damage resulting from high temperature regeneration with a high moisture content atmosphere, and so as to oxidize a greater amount of a hydrogen content than carbon content of coke associated with said spent cracking catalyst, thereby substantially reducing a water content of a subsequent regeneration zone, and wherein said carbon dioxide of said first oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere is a diluent for said oxygen of said first oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere; and
introducing said spent cracking catalyst from said first regeneration zone into a second regeneration zone in a presence of a second oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere, wherein said second regeneration zone is operated at a temperature ranging from about 1500░ F. to about 1800░ F. and maintained in a partial oxidation mode, said second regeneration zone temperature and partial oxidation mode of operation causing a substantial portion of said carbon dioxide of said second oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere to function as a reactant with carbon remaining associated with said spent cracking catalyst to form two moles of carbon monoxide per mole of carbon dioxide reacted, and thus result in a synthesis gas product rich in carbon monoxide.
2. The method as recited in claim 1 wherein said first or said second oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere further includes a supplemental fuel.
3. The method as recited in claim 2 wherein said supplemental fuel is a hydrocarbonaceous material.
4. The method as recited in claim 1 wherein at least a portion of said first oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere is preheated to a temperature substantially equal to said first regeneration temperature.
5. The method as recited in claim 1 wherein at least a portion of said second oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere is preheated to a temperature substantially equal to said second regeneration temperature.
6. The method as recited in claim 1 wherein introducing a spent cracking catalyst into a first regeneration zone includes forming a carbon dioxide by-product.
7. The method as recited in claim 6 wherein said carbon dioxide by-product forms a part of said second oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere.
8. The method as recited in claim 1 wherein said second oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere is substantially water-free.
9. The method as recited in claim 8 wherein said second oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere has a water content ranging from about 1 to about 10 mole percent.
10. The method as recited in claim 1 wherein said carbon dioxide of said second oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere also functions as a diluent for said oxygen of said second oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere.
11. A catalytic cracking process, comprising:
introducing a feed stock and a catalyst into a catalytic cracker reaction zone;
cracking said feed stock into a cracked product and a spent cracking catalyst;
regenerating said spent cracking catalyst obtained from said catalytic cracker reaction zone, including;
introducing said spent cracking catalyst from said catalytic cracker reaction zone into a first regeneration zone in a presence of a first oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere, wherein said first regeneration zone is operated at a temperature ranging from about 1110░ F. to about 1400░ F. so as to reduce cracking catalyst damage resulting from high temperature regeneration with a high moisture content atmosphere, and so as to oxidize a greater amount of a hydrogen content than carbon content of coke associated with said spent cracking catalyst, thereby substantially reducing a water content of a subsequent regeneration zone, and wherein said carbon dioxide of said first oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere is a diluent for said oxygen of said first oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere; and
introducing said spent cracking catalyst from said first regeneration zone into a second regeneration zone in a presence of a second oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere, wherein said second regeneration zone is operated at a temperature ranging from about 1100░ F. to about 1800░ F. and maintained in a partial oxidation mode, said second regeneration zone temperature and partial oxidation mode of operation causing a substantial portion of said carbon dioxide of said second oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere to function as a reactant with carbon remaining associated with said spent cracking catalyst to form two moles of carbon monoxide per mole of carbon dioxide reacted, and thus result in a synthesis gas product rich in carbon monoxide; and
recycling a regenerated catalyst from said second regeneration zone to said catalytic cracker reaction zone.
12. The process as recited in claim 11 wherein introducing a feed stock includes introducing an unseparated feed stock.
13. The process as recited in claim 12 wherein introducing an unseparated feed stock includes introducing an unseparated feed stock containing asphalt or pitch.
14. The process as recited in claim 11 wherein said first or said second oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere further includes a supplemental fuel.
15. The process as recited in claim 14 wherein said supplemental fuel is a hydrocarbonaceous material.
16. The process as recited in claim 11 wherein at least a portion of said first oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere is preheated to a temperature substantially equal to said first regeneration temperature.
17. The process as recited in claim 11 wherein at least a portion of said second oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere is preheated to a temperature substantially equal to said second regeneration temperature.
18. The process as recited in claim 11 wherein introducing a spent cracking catalyst into a first regeneration zone includes forming a carbon dioxide stream by-product.
19. The process as recited in claim 18 wherein the carbon dioxide stream by-product forms a part of said second oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere.
20. The process as recited in claim 11 wherein said second oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere is substantially water-free.
21. The process as recited in claim 20 wherein said second oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere has a water content ranging from about 1 to about 10 mole percent.
22. The catalytic cracking process as recited in claim 11 wherein said carbon dioxide of said second oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere also functions as a diluent for said oxygen of said second oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere.
Description
TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed, in general, to a method of using a catalytic cracker and, more specifically, to a method of producing synthesis gas from a regeneration of spent cracking catalyst.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Catalytic cracking processes have been developed principally for upgrading feed stock derived from natural or synthetic crude oil to more valuable hydrocarbon mixtures, particularly of lower molecular weight. These lower molecular weight hydrocarbons are generally more desirable because of their higher quality and market value. In a typical catalytic cracking process, a crude oil derived feed stock is contacted with a hot, regenerated catalyst, at temperatures ranging from about 1200░ F. to about 1400░ F. and low to moderate pressures. The chemical reactions that take place in the presence of the catalyst include predominantly scission of carbon-to-carbon bonds (simply cracking), isomerization, polymerization, dehydrogenation, hydrogen transfer, and others, generally leading to lower molecular weight hydrocarbon products.

Some of the cracking reactions in the catalytic cracker also produce hydrocarbonaceous compounds of high molecular weight, of very low volatility, of very high carbon content and of low combined hydrogen content. The hydrocarbonaceous compounds tend to be deposited on the active surfaces of the cracking catalyst and mask the active sites, rendering the catalyst less active, thus unsuitable for continued cracking without regeneration. Deposits of the hydrocarbonaceous matter and the inclusion of absorbed and adsorbed hydrocarbons, as well as the vaporous combustible components in the fluidizing media between the solid catalyst particles, collectively called “coke,” are in a sense undesirable. In response to the undesirable buildup of coke on the surfaces of the catalyst, the oil and gas industry has developed several techniques to reduce, or remove, such buildups.

One technique currently used to reduce the coke forming characteristics of feed stocks, includes without limitation, hydrotreatment, distillation, or extraction of the natural or synthetic crude feed stock prior to charging it to the catalytic cracker. Hydrotreatment, distillation, or extraction of the crude oil derived feed stock serves to remove a substantial amount of the coke precursors, such as contained in asphaltenes, polynuclear aromatics, etc., prior to catalytic cracking. Hydrotreatment, distillation, or extraction are somewhat effective in reducing or removing large amounts of coke precursors from the crude oil derived feed stock, however, such processes are expensive and time-consuming processes. Currently, incrementally available crude oil is of high residuum content and of higher coke forming characteristics at a time when it is unpopular or unlawful to utilize this additional residuum as fuel oil. At the same time, the market for residuum products, other than as fuel oil, is saturated. Additionally, to upgrade the residuum materials by the available technology results in products of lower quality (and lower market value) than would be achieved by catalytic cracking, provided the coke yield can be handled. Moreover, current and anticipated Federal and State Legislation has, and is, scrutinizing the environmental and storage issues associated with use, removal or conversion of the coke precursors. Therefore, there is a great need for an environmentally responsible conversion of the residuum portion of crude oil.

Another technique currently used to remove coke formation from the spent cracking catalyst is to burn the coke away from the catalyst surface using an oxygen-containing gas stream in a separate regeneration reactor. In such a situation, air, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and steam for diluent as combustion gas, may be introduced into the spent cracking catalyst in the lower portion of the regeneration zone(s), while cyclones are provided in the upper portion of the regeneration zone for separating the combustion gas from the entrained catalyst particles. The coke buildup removal process attempts to substantially remove the coke buildup, and is generally effective, but large amounts of greenhouse gases are produced, at least some of which are released into the atmosphere, which is generally environmentally undesirable. Another technique teaches the use of a waste heat boiler as a means of reducing greenhouse gasses going to the atmosphere, however, the reduction by this method remains limited to the achievable concentration of a fired heater. U.S. Pat. No. 4,388,218 entitled “Regeneration of Cracking Catalyst in Two Successive Zones” to Rowe, and U.S. Pat. No. 4,331,533 entitled “Method and Apparatus for Cracking Residual Oils” to Dean et al., further detail such processes and are included herein by reference.

Similarly, the regeneration zone must be carried out in such a way that it is in thermal equilibrium with the cracking reaction zone. In other words, the sensible heat of the hot regenerated catalyst in the catalytic cracker should be in balance with the heat requirements of the catalytic cracking reactor zone. In conventional operations, excluding the use of internal or external cooling coils for removing heat from the regenerator reaction zone, coke yield of only about 5 to about 8 weight percent of the total feed may be burned from the catalyst, without exceeding the amount of heat required to balance and sustain the cracking reaction.

Thus, to maintain the thermal balance needed to operate the catalytic cracker and remove enough of the coke from the catalyst to sustain the cracking process, one of two things should be done. First, the amount of coke that forms on the surface of the catalyst should be reduced. However, as mentioned above, this can typically be accomplished by using higher quality feed stock, which is more costly, or subjecting the currently available feed stock to the previously mentioned upgrading, such as but not limited to, hydrotreatment, distillation or extraction processes, which are also more costly. Second, internal or external cooling units could be installed in the regeneration units. However, such internal or external cooling units are costly and unreliable.

Accordingly, what is needed in the art is a method of catalytically cracking crude oil derived feed stock having high coke forming characteristics, without experiencing the drawbacks of the prior art methods.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

To address the above-discussed problems of the prior art, the present invention provides a method of producing a synthesis gas from a regeneration of a spent cracking catalyst. The method includes introducing a spent cracking catalyst into a first regeneration zone in a presence of a first oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere and at a first regeneration temperature. For example, a temperature that does not exceed about 1400░ F., and more preferable, a temperature that ranges from about 1150░ F. to about 1400░ F., may be used as the first regeneration temperature. The method further includes introducing the spent cracking catalyst from the first regeneration zone into a second regeneration zone. The spent cracking catalyst is introduced into the second regeneration zone in a presence of a second oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere, and at a second regeneration temperature substantially greater than the first regeneration temperature. A synthesis gas may then be formed from oxidation of the carbon on the coke located on the spent cracking catalyst within the second regeneration zone. In a preferred embodiment, the second regeneration temperature ranges. from about 1500░ F. to about 1800░ F., and in an exemplary embodiment is about 1800░ F.

In contrast to the prior art catalytic cracking method, the above-mentioned method is capable of producing commercial amounts of synthesis gas, which may then be commercially used or sold. Moreover, the above-mentioned method is capable of accepting feed stock having high coke forming characteristics, which in one advantageous embodiment, may be accepted without hydrotreating, separating as a distillation overhead product, or solvent extracting as an extract product the feed stock prior to catalytic cracking. Both the ability to accept, and the ability to accept without the need for hydrotreating, distillation, or solvent extraction, provide both economical and environmental benefits not achieved in the prior art methods.

In another aspect of the invention, the synthesis gas comprises carbon monoxide. Where the amount of synthesis gas produced is inadequate to meet the market needs or the intended system consumption capacity, in an alternative aspect, a supplemental fuel, such as a hydrocarbonaceous material, may be included within the first or the second combustion gas. The supplemental fuel is preferably one of low hydrogen content and is preferably introduced into the first regeneration zone. At least a portion of the first oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere and the second oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere, may in another aspect, be preheated to a temperature substantially equal to the first regeneration temperature and the second regeneration temperature, respectively.

In an alternative embodiment, a carbon dioxide by-product of the first regeneration zone is used at least as a portion of the second oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere. Likewise, in another embodiment, the second oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere is substantially water-free. For example, in an alternative embodiment, the second oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere has a water content ranging from about 1 to about 10 mole percent.

A catalytic cracking process is provided in another aspect of the invention. The process includes (1) introducing a feed stock and a catalyst into a catalytic cracker, (2) cracking the feed stock into a cracked product and coke, the coke forming a deposit on a spent cracking catalyst, (3) regenerating the spent cracking catalyst obtained from the catalytic cracker as outlined above, and (4) recycling a regenerated catalyst to the catalytic cracker. In an alternative aspect, the feed stock is unseparated feed stock containing asphalt or pitch. However, in another aspect, the feed stock is a preheated feed stock.

In still another aspect of the present invention, the formation of synthesis gas is maximized by (1) utilizing a preheated oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere in both the first and second regeneration zones, (2) avoiding the use of cooling coils in either regeneration zone, therefore oxidizing, in the first reaction zone, only enough coke and supplemental fuel to oxidize the hydrogen content of the coke and the supplemental fuel to reduce the water content in the second regeneration zone so as to avoid exceeding the operating conditions which result in destroying the cracking catalyst. Such conditions are a function of the second regeneration zone temperature and flue gas water content.

The foregoing has outlined, rather broadly, preferred and alternative features of the present invention so that those skilled in the art may better understand the detailed description of the invention that follows. Additional features of the invention will be described hereinafter that form the subject of the claims of the invention. Those skilled in the art should appreciate that they can readily use the disclosed conception and specific embodiment as a basis for designing or modifying other structures for carrying out the same purposes of the present invention. Those skilled in the art should also realize that such equivalent constructions do not depart from the spirit and scope of the invention in its broadest form.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a more complete understanding of the present invention, reference is now made to the following descriptions taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing, in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates one embodiment of a catalytic cracking system wherein the inventive method may be practiced.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring initially to FIG. 1, illustrated is a schematic diagram of an exemplary configuration of a catalytic cracking system 100. In the illustrative embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the catalytic cracking system 100 includes a catalytic cracking reaction zone 200, a first regeneration zone 300, and a second regeneration zone 400. Those skilled in the art will understand that the first regeneration zone 300 or the second regeneration zone 400 may include a contact system other than the dilute phase (entrained) flow section as shown in FIG. 1, there being other regeneration zone designs suitable for use with the disclosed invention. Likewise, those skilled in the art will also understand that the present invention is not limited to a single cracking reaction zone 200 and two regeneration zones 300, 400, and that multiple cracking reaction zones and regeneration zones are within the scope of the present invention. It should also be noted that valves, flanges, fittings, and some associated pumps, exchangers, and instruments may not be shown in FIG. 1 for simplicity reasons.

In the illustrative embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the catalytic cracking reaction zone 200 includes a cracker reactor disengaging space 210, a spent catalyst steam stripper 220, a dilute phase cracking reactor transport line 230 and a cracked product exit line 240. The catalytic cracking reaction zone 200 may also, in an exemplary embodiment, include cyclones 250. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1 the cyclones 250 are shown as a single cyclone, however, it should be noted that there may be more than one cyclone in parallel, or even groups of cyclones in series or in series and in parallel. It should be noted that the cyclones for the catalytic cracking reaction zone 200, the first regeneration zone 300, or the second regeneration zone 400, shown as internal cyclones, may be externally mounted without changing the teaching of this disclosed invention. The catalytic cracking reaction zone 200 in the embodiment shown in FIG. 1 is a dilute phase fluid bed catalytic cracker, but those skilled in the art understand that the fluid bed catalytic cracker may be replaced with a moving bed catalytic cracker, falling bed catalytic cracker or fixed bed catalytic cracker, without departing from the scope of the present invention.

In the illustrative embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the first regeneration zone 300 includes a first disengaging space 310, a partially regenerated catalyst line 320, a first regenerator dilute phase transport line 330 and a first regeneration zone flue gas line 340. Similar to the catalytic cracking reaction zone 200, the first regeneration zone 300 may, in a preferred embodiment, include cyclones 350. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, two cyclones 350 are shown in series, however, it should be noted that one or more cyclones, in series, parallel, or both, are also within the scope of the present invention. The first regeneration zone 300 may also include a first regeneration zone treating or separation system 360. Any one or combination of known treating or separation processes may be used, for example without limitation, removal of water, sulfur oxide (SOX), nitrogen oxide (NOX) and carbon monoxide (CO).

In the illustrative embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the second regeneration zone 400 includes a second disengaging space 410, a regenerated catalyst line 420, a second regenerator dilute phase transport line 430, and a second regeneration zone flue gas line 440. Similar to the catalytic cracking reaction zone 200, the second regeneration zone 400 may, in a preferred embodiment, includes cyclones 450. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1 two cyclones 450 are shown in series, however, it should be noted that one or more cyclones, either in series, in parallel, or both, are within the scope of the present invention. The second regeneration zone 400 may also include a second regeneration zone treating or separation system 460. Those skilled in the art will realize that other types of catalytic cracking system 100 designs may satisfy the requirements of the present invention without changing the teachings disclosed herein, including using multiple reaction zones, instead of the first and second regeneration zones 300, 400, illustrated in FIG. 1.

It has been found that typical oxidizing reactions proceed more rapidly at higher temperatures. However, it has also been found that each individual oxidizing reaction rate disproportionately changes with temperature. To understand such a process, the following oxidizing reactions have been provided:

(1) C+ŻO2=CO;

(2) C+O2=CO2;

(3) C+CO2=2CO;

(4) C+H2O=CO+H2; and

(5) C+2H2O=CO2+2H2.

It has been found that the reaction rate (change in a reactants concentration as a function of time) for reaction 1 increases more rapidly with increased temperature than does reaction 2. At temperatures below 1400░ F. the equilibrium molal ratio of CO/CO2 is well below unity, where at temperatures near 1800░ F. the CO/CO2 molal ratio is much greater. By limiting oxygen input such that there is little or no excess oxygen at temperatures ranging between the cracking reactor temperature and about 1400░ F. the formation of CO2 is favored. At temperatures between about 1400░ F. and about 1800░ F. the formation of CO is favored and the oxidization is rapid.

It has also been found, that even the most thermally stable cracking catalyst commercially used is stable up to a temperature of about 1400░ F., in the presence of the water vapor content normally experienced in regenerating said cracking catalyst. Furthermore, it has been found that such commercially used cracking catalyst may be subjected to temperatures up to about 1800░ F. in contact with oxidizing gas (flue gas) of decreased water content, the allowable water content being somewhat inversely proportional to temperature.

It is further known that the reaction rate of reaction 3 is almost nonexistent at or below temperatures of about 1400░ F., but becomes significant between about 1400░ F. and about 1800░ F. From these facts, it has been found that the most favorable method of regenerating cracking catalyst to produce carbon monoxide (CO) is to first oxidize only enough of the coke as to reduce the concentration of combined hydrogen in the coke, the hydrogen compounds being more rapidly oxidized than virtually all the carbon compounds, especially the elemental hydrogen or low molecular weight fuel, such as but not limited to methane. After having reduced the combined hydrogen content of the coke in the first regeneration zone 300, the remainder of the carbon of the coke in a second regeneration zone 400, may be oxidized at a higher temperature without damage to the catalyst.

The discussion will now turn to specific details of a method of using the catalytic cracking system 100, or another similar system, to produce a commercial amount of a synthesis gas while regenerating a spent cracking catalyst. Initially a feed stock 510 is supplied to a lower portion of the dilute phase cracking reactor transport line 230 where it is combined with regenerated catalyst provided from the regenerated catalyst line 420. The feed stock 510, in an exemplary embodiment, comprises a fresh feed stream combined with a recycled hydrocarbon stream and a specified amount of steam. Moreover, prior to entering the lower portion of the dilute phase cracking reactor transport line 230, the feed stock 510 may be preheated in a furnace 520. The furnace 520 may provide for a controlled increase in the temperature of the feed stock 510, or vaporization of at least a part thereof, which may facilitate the reaction between the feed stock 510 and the regenerated catalyst provided from the regenerated catalyst line 420. It should be noted, and is well understood by one skilled in the art, that the feed stock 510 flowing through the furnace 520 for preheating, may include at least portions of recycled hydrocarbon stream and steam through piping not shown, and that the feed stock 510 could include other similar materials. In one particularly advantageous embodiment, the fresh feed stream comprises a high coke forming feed stock, such as an unseparated feed stock containing high amounts of asphalt and pitch. As previously mentioned, the feed stock may be preheated in the furnace 520, however, in an alternative embodiment, the feed stock 510 may be bypassed around the furnace 520, using lines not shown herein.

After entering the lower portion of the dilute phase cracking reactor transport line 230 and combining with the regenerated catalyst from the regenerated catalyst line 420, the hydrocarbons react to form reactants, and the mixture rises to the upper portion of the dilute phase cracking reactor transport line 230. The mixture may then discharge from the upper portion of the dilute phase cracking reactor transport line 230 into the cracking reactor disengaging space 210, where cracking reactions continue. As is understood by one skilled in the art, the cracking process produces vaporous cracked material and spends cracking catalyst by depositing coke thereon. Once within the cracking reactor disengaging space 210, vaporous cracked material rises to the upper portion of the cracking reactor disengaging space 210. In a preferred embodiment, the vaporous cracked material rises to the upper portion of the cracking reactor disengaging space 210 and enters one or a plurality of the cyclones 250. The cyclones 250 tend to separate the vaporous cracked material from any remaining spent catalyst suspended therein. The vaporous cracked material may then rise and exit through the cracked product exit line 240 and then flow to separation equipment (not shown). The spent catalyst removed by the cyclones 250 may then flow downwardly and discharge from a dip leg of the cyclones 250.

The spent catalyst may then flow from the lower portion of the cracking reactor disengaging space 210 to the spent catalyst steam stripper 220. In the illustrative example shown in FIG. 1, the spent catalyst flows downwardly as steam countercurrently flows upwardly. The steam may be provided using a steam input line 530, and alternatively may be superheated, up to a temperature of about 1400░ F., prior to entering the steam stripper 220. Depending on the design of the catalytic cracking system 100, the upward flowing steam may flow from the steam stripper 220 to the lower portion of the cracker reactor disengaging space 210, or the upward flowing steam may alternatively be withdrawn using a steam seal, piping and valve that is not shown.

Spent and steam stripped, the spent cracking catalyst may flow from the catalyst cracking reaction zone 200, through a carrier line 540, to the first regeneration zone 300. In a more specific example, the spent cracking catalyst may enter the lower portion of the first regenerator dilute phase transport line 330. At the lower portion of the first regenerator dilute phase transport line 330, the spent cracking catalyst is introduced to a first oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere. In a preferred embodiment, the first oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere comprises a first combustion gas. As used herein, oxygen includes commercially available pure, or internally produced pure oxygen. As also used herein, the carbon dioxide atmosphere includes a carbon dioxide rich atmosphere. Preferably, the carbon dioxide rich atmosphere comprises in excess of about 50 mole percent carbon dioxide, and even more preferably, in excess of about 75 mole percent carbon dioxide. It should be noted, however, that the present invention is not limited to such percentages.

In a preferred embodiment, the first oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere or the carbon dioxide portion of the atmosphere, may be preheated in a furnace 550 prior to combining with the spent cracking catalyst. In another preferred embodiment, the furnace 550 preheats the first oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere to a temperature substantially equal to the operating temperature of the first regeneration zone 300. The components of the first oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere are shown in FIG. 1 as flowing into a common line prior to entering the lower portion of the first regenerator dilute phase transport line 330, however, the skilled artisan will understand that any one or any portion of these flows may be introduced through furnace 550 separately or in combination.

The amount of the first oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere may vary, however, the amount of each gas component should be adjusted so as to oxidize a minimal portion of the net coke, but to reduce the hydrogen content of the coke on the surface of the spent cracking catalyst leaving the first regeneration zone 300. In one advantageous embodiment, the amount of each gas component should be controlled to achieve a first regeneration zone 300 temperature not to exceed about 1400░ F., and more precisely, a first regeneration zone 300 temperature ranging from about 1150░ F. to about 1400░ F. Cracking temperatures above about 1400░ F., in the presence of anticipated water concentration, like provided in the first regeneration zone 300, are generally undesirable since they tend to cause damage to the cracking catalyst.

The spent cracking catalyst and the first oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere flow upwardly within the first regenerator dilute phase transport line 330 to the first disengaging space 310 for separation of vaporous reactants from the spent catalyst. Partially regenerated catalyst flowing from the upper portion of the first regenerator dilute phase transport line 330 tends to fall into the lower portion of the first disengaging space 310 to form a fluid bed. While located within the fluid bed, additional oxidation of the coke from the partially regenerated catalyst may occur. To facilitate the additional oxidation within the fluid bed, in an exemplary embodiment, additional amounts of oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere may be introduced within the fluid bed. For example, the additional amounts of oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere may be introduced within the fluid bed through a distribution grid or piping coil.

The vaporous reactants of the first regeneration zone 300 tend to rise within the first disengaging space 310 and enter cyclones 350. The cyclones 350, similar to the cyclones 250 found within the catalytic cracking reaction zone 200, may separate suspended spent catalyst from the vaporous reactant's flue gas. Spent catalyst removed from the vaporous flue gas flows downwardly through the dip leg to the fluid bed, as the vaporous flue gas exits the first regeneration zone 300 through the first regeneration zone residue gas line 340. In one advantageous embodiment, the vaporous flue gas then enters the first regeneration zone treating or separation system 360. The vaporous flue gas may be given treatment or separation utilizing any one or more of several types of well-known treatments. Such treatments or separation may separate the vaporous flue gas into its constituent components consistent with its intended use. At temperatures ranging from about 1150░ F. to about 1400░ F., the most rapid compounds to oxidize are those which contain hydrogen, sulfur and nitrogen, however, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and other pollutants are also present in the flue gas. In one particularly advantageous embodiment, the carbon dioxide flue gas by-product of the first regeneration zone 300 provides the carbon dioxide needed in the first regeneration zone 300.

A portion of the hot partially regenerated spent catalyst located within the fluid bed may be recycled through a line 560 to the lower portion of the first regenerator dilute phase transport line 330. This may be used to accelerate the initial oxidizing reaction rate in the first regenerator dilute phase transport line 330. However, the remaining portion of the partially regenerated spent catalyst travels through a partially regenerated catalyst line 320 to the second regeneration zone 400. In a preferred embodiment, the remaining portion of the partially regenerated spent catalyst travels through the partially regenerated catalyst line 320 to a lower portion of the second regenerator dilute phase transport line 430.

At the lower portion of the second regenerator dilute phase transport line 430, the partially regenerated spent cracking catalyst from the first catalyst transport line 320 is introduced to a second oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere. In a preferred embodiment, the second oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere comprises a combustion gas. The partially regenerated spent cracking catalyst and the second oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere, in an exemplary embodiment, are substantially water-free. For example, in another exemplary embodiment, flue gas from the regeneration of the partially regenerated spent cracking catalyst along with the second oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere, have a water content ranging from about 1 to about 10 mole percent.

In one particularly advantageous embodiment, the carbon dioxide flue gas by-product of the first regeneration zone 300 provides the carbon dioxide needed in the second regeneration zone 400. In a preferred embodiment, the second oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere, or strictly the carbon dioxide portion of the atmosphere, may be preheated in a furnace 570 prior to combining with the oxygen and the spent cracking catalyst. Similar to the furnace 550, the furnace 570 may preheat the second oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere, or strictly the carbon dioxide portion of the atmosphere, to a temperature substantially equal to the operating temperature of the second regeneration zone 400. Those skilled in the art will also realize that the preheating of the second oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere, or strictly the carbon dioxide portion of the atmosphere, may also be accomplished by heat exchange with a hot process stream. The hot process stream, in an exemplary embodiment, could include the first regeneration zone flue gas line 340 or the second regeneration zone flue gas line 440. The second oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere is preferably preheated, because it has been found that the carbon dioxide will begin to react with the carbon on the coke endothermically to form more carbon monoxide at a decreasing temperature, thus limiting the second reactor temperature in the second regeneration zone 400. The components of the second oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere are shown in FIG. 1 as flowing into a common line prior to entering the lower portion of the second regenerator dilute phase transport line 430, however the skilled artisan will understand that any one or a portion of these flows may be introduced separately or in combination.

The flow rate of each component of the second oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere introduced to the second regeneration zone may vary, however, the flow rate of each component should be adjusted independently so as to oxidize the remaining net coke production, yet operate in a partial oxidizing mode. In one advantageous embodiment, the amount of each component should be controlled individually to achieve a second regeneration zone 400 temperature substantially greater than the first regeneration zone 300 temperature, and to achieve optimum conversion of the coke and supplemental fuel to carbon monoxide. For example, the second regeneration zone 400 temperature may range from about 1500░ F. to about 1800░ F., and more precisely, may have a temperature of about 1800░ F. Since the water forming hydrogen content of the coke was substantially reduced in the first regeneration zone 300, the partially regenerated spent cracking catalyst can handle temperatures up to about 1800░ F. without damage, which is contrary to the first regeneration zone 300, and contrary to the prior art carbon monoxide (synthesis gas) forming regenerators. Generally, the heat generated in the second reaction zone 400 is desirable for the reaction and should remain therein. For example, in a preferred embodiment, the first and second regeneration zones 300, 400, respectively, should not have a significant amount of heat removed, because to do so could suppress the endothermic reaction of carbon dioxide with carbon, to form additional carbon monoxide and reduce the cost of oxygen requirements. Thus, those skilled in the art now understand the use of carbon dioxide to minimize the costly oxygen requirement and to maximize the production of carbon monoxide.

The partially regenerated spent cracking catalyst and the second oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere flow upwardly within the second regenerator dilute phase transport line 430 to the second disengaging space 410 for separation of the remaining coke from the partially regenerated spent catalyst. Partially regenerated catalyst flowing from the upper portion of the second regenerator dilute phase transport line 430 tends to fall into the lower portion of the second disengaging space 410 to form a fluid bed. While located within the fluid bed, additional oxidation of the coke from the partially regenerated catalyst may occur. To facilitate the additional oxidation within the fluid bed, in an exemplary embodiment, additional carbon dioxide and oxygen may be introduced within the fluid bed. For example, the additional carbon dioxide and oxygen atmosphere may be introduced within the fluid bed at a point below a distribution grid or piping coil.

The vaporous reactants of the second regeneration zone 400 tend to rise within the second disengaging space 410 and enter the cyclones 450. The cyclones 450, similar to the cyclones 250 found within the catalytic cracking reaction zone 200, may separate suspended spent catalyst from the vaporous flue gas. Spent catalyst removed from the vaporous flue gas may then flow downwardly through the dip leg to the fluid bed, as the vaporous flue gas exits the second regeneration zone 400 through the second regeneration flue gas line 440. The vaporous flue gas may then enter the second regeneration zone treating or separation system 460. The vaporous flue gas may be given treatment or separation utilizing any one or more of several types of well-known treatments or separations. Such treatments may separate the vaporous flue gas into its constituent components. In contrast to the first regeneration zone 300 where large amounts of carbon dioxide are formed, the second regeneration zone 400 produces larger amounts of synthesis gas, such as carbon monoxide. This is a result of the higher temperatures used in the second regeneration zone 400 favoring the formation of carbon monoxide rather than carbon dioxide. Other minor constituents produced by the treatment of the vaporous flue gas include water, sulfur compounds, nitrogen compounds, carbon dioxide and particulate matter. It should be pointed out, in contrast to the prior art systems, that it has been found that the use of cooling coils within either the first or second regeneration zones 300, 400, simply reduces the efficiency of the first or second regeneration zones 300, 400, to maximize the production of carbon monoxide. For such a reason, it is preferred that cooling coils not be used within either the first or second regeneration zones 300, 400.

In one particularly advantageous embodiment, high enough amounts of carbon monoxide are produced from the coke and alternatively supplemental fuels, if any, to fuel or feed other systems within the petrochemical plant, or be sold to an external enterprise. Regardless, using the above-mentioned process has turned what was historically considered waste into a valuable and profitable resource. In situations where the operator of the catalytic cracking system 100 has entered into an agreement with an external enterprise to provide a specified amount of carbon monoxide, and the coke forming characteristics of the feed stock are not great enough to provide the agreed upon quantity of carbon monoxide or hydrogen gas, supplemental fuel 575 may be included with the first or second oxygen and carbon dioxide atmospheres, or added separately. Although the supplemental fuel 575 may be added to the first or the second regeneration zone, it is preferred to add it to the first regeneration zone so as to reduce the hydrogen content, if any, of such fuel 575 components before the carbon content thereof flows to the second regeneration zone operated at temperatures at which the catalyst may be damaged by water content. Inclusion of the supplemental fuel 575 helps to increase the output of the carbon monoxide. For instance, a specified amount of a carbon-based material highly deficient in hydrogen could be supplemented with the first or second oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere, or added separately. Such carbon-based materials may include carbon derived from coal, pitch, and many others. Furthermore, it is preferred to use a high carbon-based material having low concentrations of hydrogen, ash, and sulfur.

It should be noted that carbon monoxide may not be the only flue gas constituent produced in high enough quantities for resale. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, carbon dioxide flue gas byproduct produced from the first regeneration zone 300, and carbon dioxide flue gas by-product produced from the second regeneration zone 400, is produced in a quantity sufficient to provide the carbon dioxide atmospheres needed in the first and second regeneration zones 300, 400, and also provide an additional quantity of carbon dioxide sufficient for resale.

Once the vaporous flue gas has been separated from the substantially regenerated catalyst, a portion of the hot substantially regenerated catalyst located within the fluid bed may be recycled through a line 580 to the lower portion of the second regenerator cracking reactor dilute phase transport line 430, to increase the initial temperature therein. However, the remaining portion of the substantially regenerated catalyst may then flow through the second regenerated catalyst transport line 420 to the lower portion of the dilute phase cracking reactor transport line 230. The substantially regenerated catalyst then recombines with the feed stock as previously mentioned, and the process repeats itself. In an exemplary embodiment, located in the second regenerated catalyst transport line 420, between the second regeneration zone 400 and the catalyst cracking reaction zone 200, may be a heat exchanger 590. The heat exchanger 590, which in a preferred embodiment cools the temperature of the regenerated catalyst to a desired temperature, and attempts to adjust the catalyst to oil weight ratio (C/O) for increased cracking selectivity. This temperature may range from about 1150░ F. to about 1500░ F. In FIG. 1, the preheaters 520, 550, and 570 are shown as fired heaters, but those skilled in the art will realize that the preheating may be at least in part accomplished by heat exchange such as, but not limited to, exchanger 590, without changing the teaching of this disclosed invention.

The above mentioned inventive method of producing a synthesis gas from regeneration of a spent cracking catalyst has many monetary and environmental benefits associated therewith. Of particular importance is the ability of the current inventive method to convert the vaporous flue gas, which was historically considered waste, into usable and non-environmentally objectionable material. Historically, the vaporous flue gas was passed through a waste heat boiler, treated, for example for reduction of sulfur compounds or particulate matter, and released into the atmosphere, all the while raising environmental concerns. However, since the current process is capable of producing commercial amounts of synthesis gas, and that synthesis gas is captured, the amount of particulate matter (PM), sulfur oxide (SOX), nitrogen oxide (NOX) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) released into the atmosphere by the second regeneration zone 400 is substantially reduced. Moreover, not only are these emissions reduced, but they are reduced by purification of product synthesis gas.

Another environmental and monetary benefit resulting from the inventive method of producing a synthesis gas from regeneration of a spent cracking catalyst, resides in the ability of the catalytic cracker 100 to accept heavier feed stock (long residuum), i.e., feed stocks containing high amounts of asphalt, pitch and other high coke forming constituents, without the need to hydrotreat, distill, or extract such feed stocks prior to catalytic cracking. However, this is not to say that the hydrotreatment may not still be profitable. Currently, the quality of the crude oil derived feed stock has decreased in recent years, and unless one is willing to pay a very high premium to get very high quality feed stock, heavy feed stock was the only option. However, as a result of the above-mentioned process, the use of heavy feed stock is now a plausible option.

Historically, using the heavy feed stock required distilling, extracting, or hydrotreating of the long residuum, asphalt, pitch and other components of high coke forming characteristic feed stock, prior to catalytically cracking such a feed stock. However, since the distillation process may be dispensed with for many crude oil sources, environmental and storage concerns associated with the removal of the asphalt, pitch and other high coke forming constituents are substantially reduced. Likewise, any emissions into the atmosphere resulting from the hydrotreating, distillation or extraction processes are substantially reduced. Therefore, the ability to accept raw heavy feed stock is both environmentally and momentarily beneficial.

Some reduction in the emissions from sources other than the catalytic cracker may also be realized. Such possible sources may include, in addition to hydrotreatment, distillation, and extraction processing equipment, the alternate conversion equipment, such as but not limited to, coker processing equipment. Because the amount of long residuum which is processed in such sources is substantially reduced or eliminated, the emissions of such sources would be reduced accordingly. Emissions such as fugitive emissions are generally unaffected unless the total operation is discontinued.

Another benefit realized by the inventive method, and more specifically the higher production rate of synthesis gas, is that only about 28% of the heat evolved in complete combustion mode of regeneration is experienced in forming carbon monoxide in the catalyst regenerators. The lower heat output plays an important factor in maintaining the catalytic cracking system in thermal equilibrium, while continuing to remove enough of the coke from the catalyst to sustain the cracking process.

Although the present invention has been described in detail, those skilled in the art should understand that they can make various changes, substitutions and alterations herein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention in its broadest form. For example, those skilled in the art will understand that there are almost limitless ways that the process of FIG. 1 can be modified without departing from the teachings of the herein described invention.

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Referenced by
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US6585884 *Oct 17, 2002Jul 1, 2003Warden W. Mayes, Jr.Method of producing synthesis gas from a regeneration of spent cracking catalyst
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Classifications
U.S. Classification208/113, 502/39, 502/38, 423/418.2, 252/373, 502/49
International ClassificationB01J29/90, B01J8/26, B01J38/40, C10J3/54, B01J38/34, C10G11/18, C10J3/56
Cooperative ClassificationC10J3/56, C10J2300/0973, C10J2300/0943, B01J2219/0004, C10J3/54, B01J29/90, C10J2300/09, C10J2300/16, C10J3/482, B01J38/34, B01J8/26, C10J2300/0983, C10G11/182, C10J2300/0959, B01J38/40
European ClassificationC10J3/48B, B01J38/34, B01J8/26, C10J3/56, B01J38/40, C10J3/54, C10G11/18A, B01J29/90
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